BODY CONDITION SCORING: The simple facts

Anne Lee For contract milker Matt Greenwood having the 1200 cows he manages independently body condition scored means he’s dealing with facts. “Everything we do on farm – and actually our whole farm system here – we want to be based on scientifically proven information not somebody’s theory,” he says. Matt and Vanessa Greenwood are contract milkers on two of …

Low-cost dairy masterclass

Anne Lee Farmers and rural professionals were treated to what you could call a master class in low-cost, pasture-based dairying at the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) earlier this year when Dairy Holdings Ltd (DHL) principals Colin Armer and Colin Glass took to the podium. Armer and wife Dale own Armer Farms which includes 15 large-scale dairy farms in the …

ECOLOGICALLY SPEAKING: A unique farmers market in the global village

Alison Dewes I am lucky to work with great farmers, many of whom are leaders because they have chosen to do things differently. From now till 2020 will be a time of rapid change for the pastoral sector. Not just for dairying, but the supporting agribusiness sectors. Pressure is being applied on resource use (water), nutrient loading and greenhouse gas …

Setting high standards

Dairy farmers need to take ownership of their future by embracing the challenges facing the industry Waikato farmers John Hayward and Susan O’Regan say. Their operation is one of the 20 high-performing farms studied as part of the Primary Industries Ministry’s Farm Systems Change initiative. They told Sheryl Brown how they keep a step ahead in their business.   Turning up …

Top-Notch rearing

Dairy farmers and calf-rearers Jonathan and Joanne Leigh have reared anywhere from 1400 up to 8000 calves every season for 14 years without any serious disease outbreak. They gave Sheryl Brown an insight into how to succeed at calf-rearing and why people need to love calves to do it well. Dairy farmers can have a she’ll-be-right attitude to calf-rearing but …

Weighing up the next step

Aaron and Holly Jackson didn’t stint on the diligence when looking at their next step in the dairy industry, they told Anne Lee how they used friends, experts, checklists and historic facts to make a considered decision. Aaron and Holly Jackson talked to respected peers, sought independent advice and had to weigh up a lot of pros and cons when …

Sparkle with Speckle Parks

Dairy farmers looking to expand their use of beef semen could find an answer in Speckle Park cattle. Sheryl Brown visited Waikato sharemilker Derek Hayward to see how he is using the black and white beef breed to add value to his business.   Derek and Catherine Hayward are in the stock business. Like most sharemilkers their money is invested in …

Comfy cows prove case for cover

Waikato farmers Rex and Sharon Butterworth is one of the 20 high-performing farms the Primary Industries Ministry has studied as part of its Farm Systems Change initiative. Sheryl Brown reports how a key system change on their farm increased productivity, lowered costs and reduced the environmental footprint.   Located 10 minutes from Matamata, near Walton, Rex and Sharon Butterworth’s 113-hectare flat …

Complacency creeps in to rural safety

Jackie Harrigan Fifteen months into the new Health and Safety in the Workplace Act (HSWA) rural business owners risk becoming complacent around documentation and opening themselves up to possible unexpected consequences if they have an incident on their farm. Bronwyn Muir from OnFarmSafety NZ says as a health and safety practitioner it’s an interesting phase in the rural industry – …

Trees will tell the story

Glenys Christian – Dairy farmers don’t want to let their environmental story get ahead of the reality, Kaipara Council mayor and former Fonterra deputy chairman, Greg Gent, warns. “But farmers have always had a level of environmental understanding,” he said. “There’s good science available and now they’re reacting to that.” He joined about 25 lower Northland farmers and Maungatoroto locals …